Cost-cutting BA to review PR accounts

British Airways has launched a major review of its regional PR business in a bid to slash costs across the Middle East, Campaign can reveal.

The airline claims that the decision to re-pitch its contracts in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia is part of an efficiency drive to reduce the number of agencies it works with, and is not the result of poor service.

Terry Parry, BA marketing manager for the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, said: "We are looking to consolidate the number of suppliers currently providing PR support across the region.

"This is being driven by the need to ensure we have
excellent value for money with our PR."

BA currently uses two agency networks in the Middle East -- Promoseven Weber Shandwick for the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia, and Action Global Communications in Jordan, Lebanon and Iran.

Asked whether the decision related to quality of services BA had received, Parry said: "Absolutely not. This review is being driven by procurement best practice. We have carried out similar reviews in Europe and Asia Pacific."

The airline says that it is looking to establish relations with firms that are able to carry out PR activities over a wider geographical area. It is currently researching a number of international agencies and will invite pitches for its business at the start of April.

Parry added that the review had nothing to do with rival airline Virgin Atlantic's new service to Dubai, which is due to begin later this month.

P Meanwhile, soft drink and confectionery firm Aujan Industries is continuing to review its PR arrangements with Weber Shandwick after saying it was unhappy with the service it was receiving.

The Saudi-based firm has received approaches from several agencies, but says it will finish the review before making a decision on its next move.

See Campaign Middle East for more PR, advertising and marketing news from the region.

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